MCI organizes maiden training workshop for street vendors

ISLAMABAD: Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has organized a maiden workshop to sensitize the first batch of street vendors about food safety and hygiene practices.

The day-long workshop was organized by the MCI in collaboration with the Institute of Food & Nutritional Sciences of University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi (UAAR), which is also the advisor of Punjab Food Authority.

As many as 14 street vendors from G-11, Markaz, Islamabad were trained and provided training certificates under the first workshop.

On the occasion, Administrator MCI Syeda Shafaq Hashmi said the capital city had embarked upon streamlining street food vending with a better licensing regime and enhancing hygiene standards.

“Pakistanis are fond of street food and these vendors are also fulfilling food security demand of a large section of urban poor, ” she remarked.

She said the initiative would serve as a model for other cities of the country and would bring street vendors at par with international standards.

Hashmi maintained that the training was meant to be transformative for the vendor trainees, as all of them had been in the food selling vocation for years and had never attended such training.

She added that the participant vendors were trained in maintenance of sanitation during preparation, cooking, and serving.

The MCI administrator said the day-long training session covered areas such as food handling, food safety, personal hygiene, and cart’s hygiene, cleaning, and garbage disposal.

Focus also remained on precautionary measures for reducing the impact of COVID-19 during food and client handling, she added.

She said those food safety training workshops would be a regular feature of the ongoing street vendors’ regularization initiative, where more and more street food vendors will be trained.

MCI, in coordination with Ehsaas, CDA, and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), was also launching the first pilot project for street vendors in Islamabad, she noted.

Focal Person for the street vendors’ initiative Zia Banday informed participants about the government’s efforts for bringing street vendors through the adoption of best standards of modular carts, service standards, and hygiene practices.

Street vendors appreciated the government’s initiative of recognizing their status as a legitimate economic player and helping them in enhancing their livelihood capacity through training, provision of improved carts and vending licenses.